Russian military forces continue to rock populated areas of Ukraine with a barrage of attacks on heavily populated areas. Suicide drones claimed the lives of more civilians in the capital city of Kyiv on Monday (Oct. 17), leaving a trail of destruction and some bracing for a hard winter that could include ongoing power outages and food shortages, according to media reports.
Meanwhile, ministry efforts and Bible training courageously continue forward amid war and chaos.
Yaroslav Pyzh, president of Ukrainian Baptist Theological Seminary, shared in his latest video update that students are gathering to learn how they can reclaim their country for Christ — beyond merely rebuilding church buildings that have been destroyed.
Video footage shows groups of Ukrainian students gathering in a bomb shelter to attend a Bible training session, with the seminary’s most recent gatherings drawing 450 students, he said.
“We are lucky that we have a basement, and we are lucky that our building allowed us to have sessions even when we have air raid sirens,” Pyzh noted.
With the end of the war appearing to be nowhere in site, the seminary’s classes are “critical” and must continue, he added.
Critical need for leaders
While life goes on as usual in some areas of Ukraine, the country continues to lose more and more churches during the conflict. More Christian leaders must be trained to fill the void, Pyzh noted.
“In the midst of the challenges of this war,” he said, “the importance of the work of UBTS is tremendous because one of the most critical outcomes of this war is what I call leadership vacuum.”
“We lost a lot of churches,” he said. “We lost a lot of leaders, and I know in the future we will lose even more. Our work — equipping and developing leaders — is becoming much more critical.”
One student, Pyzh recalled, told him “I was never pastor before, now I’m pastoring a church. We have a lot of people, a lot of opportunities, big building, and I have no clue what to do — that’s the reason I’m at UBTS.”
Pyzh added, “In future, even if you rebuild all the buildings, buildings without leaders means nothing, so thank you for helping us.”
Ways to help
Southern Baptist missionaries and volunteers throughout the region continue to respond to Ukrainians in need of help.
To learn more about how you can help through various relief efforts, contact your church, association or state Baptist convention. To contact your state convention for more information, click here.